RANTOUL – When the Rantoul Eagles boys basketball team held its annual Meet the Eagles scrimmage Saturday night the goal was to “entertain and for the kids to have fun,” head coach Brett Frerichs said.
Frerichs said that he liked a lot of things he saw from his squad during the scrimmage, but he did notice a glaring issue.
“We saw that we need to handle the ball better,” Frerichs said. “We will definitely need to improve that before the season starts.”
His team is coming off of a 13-17 2018-2019 campaign. Part of the plan for the Eagles may involve some struggle for this year’s squad. Frerichs says the Eagles face a daunting out-of-conference schedule.
“Our goal has always been to schedule tough,” Frerichs said. “We are one of the smaller schools in 3A, so it makes sense for us to schedule tough so that we are prepared for the postseason.”
Frerichs said not many schools play the type of schedule his squad does.
“I would put the strength of our schedule up against anyone,” he said.
Rantoul will start the season with a one of the toughest parts of the schedule. The Eagles will hit the road on Tuesday, Nov. 26, on the road agaist the Morton Potters and Friday, Nov. 29, at Pekin.
Frerichs said his team knows they are young but expects his squad to be up to the task.
“We realize as a program that we have inexperience, but we want to improve every game,” Frerichs said. “We want to peak around conference and then obviously the postseason.”
Frerichs will look to the few players who have varsity experience to lead the Eagles early.
“Eric Whisby and Jaxon Freeman are both guards, and they have varsity experience from last year, and I expect them to contribute to the scoring,” Frerichs said. “Bryant Shaw is a 6-4 center who will contribute for us down low.”
Frerichs is looking at a new point guard to run the offense.
“Deonta Space is going to run the point guard spot for us,” Frerichs said. “That’s a position we will need to see a lot of improvement at, and I think Deonta can do that for us.”
Space is getting the opportunity because of an injury that is carrying over from football season.
“Kameron Rome got hurt in football when he broke his fibula; he was going to move from shooting guard to point guard, but he will be out until at least Decmeber,” Frerichs said.
Frerichs is not focused on expectations with his team.
“We have to improve every day; we are a little behind right now, and we will need to rely on our defense early until we figure out who is going to put the ball in the basket,” Frerichs said.
You can contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@RantoulPress.com or on twitter @RyanBirchRP